Last year’s record: 4-13-3, 0-8-1 FVC (ninth place)
Top returning players: Kaleb Boer, sr., M; Charlie Ames, sr., M; Daniel Nava, sr., F; Noah Rosborough, so., D
Key newcomers: Charles Wyzukovicz, jr., GK; Sam Knych, so., M; Max Salas, so., M
Worth noting: The Rockets are looking forward to having continuity as Schmitt enters his second season as head coach. Last year’s seniors had three coaches during their time at Central. “We’re not starting from zero with most of them, which is a big bonus,” Schmitt said. … Boer returns as a leader and should be a strong defensive player no matter where Schmitt places him. … Schmitt is excited to see if Nava can take over as the program’s top goal-scorer. … The Rockets will feature five underclassmen but Schmitt knows if the younger players prove themselves, there won’t be problems with the team coming together. “If you can prove yourself that you’re a valuable asset to have out there, you’re not going to run into conflict when you’re on the field,” Schmitt said. … Central will try to win its first playoff match since 2015 and finish with a winning FVC record for the first time since the Rockets moved to the conference in 2019.
Coach: Mark Olson (18th season)
Last season’s finish: 2-13-1, 0-8-1 FVC (10th place)
Top returning players: Sean Barnes, sr., D; Ian Frangiamore, sr., M/D; Logan Kemp, sr., GK; Cooper Motz, sr., D; Kyle Nordengren, sr., M; Caleb Ramirez, sr., D; Ethan Flesor, sr., M/F; Angel Apaez, so., M/F; Ryan Boutwell, jr., F; Daniel Czerwinski, jr., F; Kyle Erpelding, sr., M/F; Parker Frank, so., M; Landon Nawracaj, jr., F; Cole Waddell, jr., F/M; Finlay Evangelista, sr., F/M
Key newcomers: Landon Burns, sr., D; Bryce Nordengren, so., M
Worth noting: The Trojans are hoping to have better health this season. Barnes, Flesor, Boutwell, Kyle Nordengren and Frank all missed matches last season, forcing younger players to have a bigger roles. Olson is excited to have his injured players back. “It’s a huge bonus,” Olson said. … Although C-G lost plenty of talent to injury last season, the Trojans will now have plenty of depth. Olson was impressed with many of the Trojans’ grit and determination when thrown into the fire and now he’s excited to see how those experiences help this season’s team. “It was a valuable experience for them and we’re going to be better for us,” Olson said. … This year’s seniors have played together for the last few seasons and are hoping that familiarity leads to more wins. … The Trojans will try to win their first regional and reach the regional finals for the first time since 2015.
Crystal Lake Central
Coach: Leah Rutkowski (first season)
Last season’s finish: 11-9-2, 4-4-1 FVC (sixth place)
Top returning players: Vicente Romero, sr., M; Gideon Burleson, jr., M; Owen Kaiser, sr., F
Worth noting: Rutkowski takes over after coaching in the program at the lower levels for the past five years. … The Tigers’ roster will feature a good balance with positions and grades that Rutkowski hopes will lead to success. “I’m absolutely ecstatic about the team that I’ve been able to put together and hopeful for what we can do,” Rutkowski said. “I know we’re going to come out and battle, hopefully surprise a few people.” … Romero returns after scoring seven goals and finishing with two assists. He earned IHSSCA All-Sectional honors last year and Rutkowski is expecting more success. “I’m hoping he will be an anchor for the team,” Rutkowski said. “He’s already been a top scorer his junior year so I’m hoping he can be our huge impact player.” … The Tigers’ roster will feature three freshmen – Kane, Pagonis and Gray – who Rutkowski is excited to see how their talents translate to varsity soccer. “I think they’re going to energize our offense,” Rutkowski said.
Crystal Lake South
Coach: Brian Allen (17th season)
Last season’s finish: 14-5-3, 8-1 (first place), FVC champions, Class 2A regional champions
Top returning players: Nolan Getzinger, sr., M; Brendan Lewis, sr., M; Blake Marunde, sr., D; Garrett Hess, sr., D
Key newcomers: Parker Zilm, fr., D; Dustin Banner, fr., M; Josh Moreno, fr., M/F; Will Prus, fr., M
Worth noting:South will try to build off of last season’s late success. The Gators won the FVC crown on the last day of the regular season and went on to win a regional title before losing in the sectional semifinals. The returning players are motivated to advance further in the postseason. “When half your lineup is that senior driven, they’ve been through the grind, they’ve had their ups and downs and they lose scenarios like that, disappointment in the playoffs for the future,” Allen said. … Getzinger returns after earning IHSSCA All-State and 2022 Northwest Herald Boys Soccer Player of the Year honors. He led the area with 22 goals and added eight assists. “He’s a player that wants to continue to get better, he asks good questions in training and he never takes plays off,” Allen said. “That’ll have him in good form that we can ride quite a bit.” … Getzinger, Marunde, Lewis and Hess all return with plenty of experience. Marunde enters his fourth year while Lewis will start his third. … Thirty-one freshmen tried out for the program, with Zilm, Banner, Moreno and Prus joining the varsity roster.
Coach: Rey Vargas (20th season)
Last season’s finish: 13-9-4, 7-1-1 FVC (second place), Class 3A regional champions
Top returning players: Martin Leon, sr., D; Diego Flores, jr., D; Gabriel Herrera, jr., M; Sebastian Sanchez, so., M
Key newcomers: Ronaldo Zavala, so.; Braeden Hayes, jr., GK; Manuel Hernandez, so., GK
Worth noting: The Chargers won their fourth straight regional title and fifth in the last six postseasons, but they want to get over the hump and win a sectional title. D-C lost to Jacobs in penalty kicks in the sectional final in 2019 and the players have talked about helping the program advancing deeper. “I know we have the talent and the ability to do it, it’s just a matter of how they play and how much they want it, how hungry they are for it,” Vargas said. … D-C led the FVC for much of last season until it tied with Jacobs to end the season, leading to a second-place finish. “It didn’t sit well with them because they know we should’ve done better than we did,” Vargas said. … Leon enters his third year with the Chargers as he, Flores, Herrera and Sanchez will try to lead a younger team. “We’re going to ask them to kind of guide some of the younger guys who weren’t on varsity last year through this whole process,” Vargas said.
Coach: Chayanne Martinez (third season)
Last season’s finish: 6-13-3, 2-6-1 FVC (eighth place)
Top returning players: Andrew Nuzzo, jr., M; Logan Heileman, sr., M; Niklas Kaistinen, sr., F/M; Jackson Carey, jr., M; Charlie Terriquez, jr., F
Worth noting: Martinez will rely on his experienced players to lead the way as Hampshire tries to win its first playoff match since 2019 and its first regional title since 2017. “They’re all young players, they’re all still developing,” Martinez said. “The biggest thing is the psychological game of what to do when things don’t go our way, how do we bounce back.” … Nuzzo, Heileman, Kaistinen, Carey and Terriquez will all provide needed leadership. … The Whips added 20 new players this season. Martinez is excited to see what sort of boost new faces can add to the program. “They all bring something special and they’re all excited to start the season,” Martinez said. ... The Whips will play five of their last six matches on the road.
Coach: Matt Lewandowski (fifth season)
Last season’s finish: 14-8-2, 6-3 FVC (third place)
Top returning players: Hudson Nielsen, sr., M; Isaac Jacobo, sr., F; Jack Breunig, sr., M
Key newcomer: Jack Bakey, sr., GK
Worth noting:Huntley will try to get back to deeper postseason runs after it failed to win its third straight regional title last season. The Red Raiders return 12 seniors and two juniors from last year’s squad. “Having that experience and having so many guys come back with that experience leaves a bad taste in their mouth and they’re to amend it, fix it and move on,” Lewandowski said. … Nielsen and Jacobo both return after each scored 11 goals last season, finishing top-five in scoring in the FVC. Lewandowski is excited to see what his scoring duo can do in their senior years, especially Jacobo. “You just know he’s dangerous when he touches the ball,” Lewandowski said. … Lewandowski is excited to see how Bakey does after earning his chance to start in goal. “He’s a big kid, he’s fearless and he’s itching to go,” Lewandowski said. … The Red Raiders will play what Lewandowski considers their toughest schedule. Highlights include matches against Barrington, Libertyville and Fremd.
Coach: Colin Brice (fifth season)
Last season’s finish: 9-9-4, 3-4-2 FVC (seventh place), Class 3A regional champions
Top returning players: Nevin Volarath, sr., M; Kelvin Medina, sr., F; Owen Amrstrong, sr., D; Elsworth McIntosh, sr., M; Kaiji Seto, jr., M; Andrew Deegan, so., D
Key newcomers: Ethan Aldrete, fr., M; Oumer Abdukarem, jr., M; Maksym Kharchenko, jr., M
Worth noting: The Golden Eagles return 15 players from a team that hit its stride toward the end of last season. Jacobs stopped D-C from winning the FVC crown by tying with the Chargers late in the season and went on to won its first regional title since 2019. … Brice is confident Jacobs can compete for a FVC crown and its first sectional title since 2019. The Golden Eagles won three sectional titles from 2016 to 2019. “We can go out there and compete for a sectional,” Brice said. “That’s one of our goals this season: see how far we can make it.” … Volarath returns after scoring five goals and tallying two assists to earn All-FVC honors. “He’ll be one of the best players in the conference for us,” Brice said. … Medina will miss the first few weeks of the season with a foot injury but should be ready to play early in the year. … The Golden Eagles will face a challenging nonconference schedule, playing Hersey, Hoffman Estates, Barrington and Glenbrook North.
Coach: Tony Caruso (26th season)
Last season’s finish: 14-9-2, 5-3-1 FVC (fifth place)
Top returning players: Nate Luedtke, jr., D; Marko Stojich, jr., M; Sebastian Jimenez, sr., D
Key newcomer: Cody Bundy, fr., M
Worth noting: McHenry will try to continue the growth from last season with a strong senior group. The Warriors went 4-1-1 in their last six matches last season, finished with their first winning season since 2016 and lost to Elgin in the Class 3A regional finals. … Luedtke and Stojich enter their third year on varsity and know how Caruso likes to run his program. He’ll lean on the senior duo early in the season. “It’ll be important for them to show the way for the other guys,” Caruso said. “They know what needs to be done.” … Jimenez will join Luedtke in providing needed experience on the backline. … The Warriors will try to finish in the top half of the FVC for the second straight season. McHenry last finished top-five back-to-back years in 2016 and 2017.
Coach: Josef Schroeder (second season)
Last season’s finish: 10-9, 6-3 FVC (fourth place)
Top returning players: Chase Vrba, sr., D; Kaj Justesen, sr., D; Mason Fowler, sr., F; Ethan Ormsby, sr., M/F
Key newcomers: John Malina, jr., GK; Chris Zinevich, so., GK
Worth noting: The Wolves will need to turn over their lineup with only three returning senior starters. Schroeder knows some players will need to play a position they haven’t played before. “It’s just trying to find the different pieces to fill in the different areas that we need to work on,” Schroeder said. … Schroeder will rely on his senior leaders to help teach a large junior group. Vrba, Justesen, Fowler and Ormsby have all been open to the challenge in helping the program for not only this season but years to come. “We’re going to have to rely on these guys to lead the way, show them the way,” Schroeder said. … Malina and Zinevich will battle it out for the goalkeeper spot. … Ormsby returned to the program after not competing last season. He played as a sophomore. … Schroeder is looking for more shutouts this season after the Wolves had five last year. … PR starts the season with a tough matchup against Warren on Tuesday.
Kishwaukee River Conference
Coach: Victor Gonzalez (ninth season)
Last season’s finish: 14-7, 5-0 KRC (first place)
Top returning players: David Pichardo, sr., M; Marco Herrera, sr., M
Key newcomer: Santons Aquino, so., F
Worth noting: The Hornets lost 19 seniors from last season’s team that won the program’s second straight KRC title as well as the KRC Tournament. Gonzalez is encouraged by the growth he’s seen from his new leaders. … Pichardo and Herrera both return and will be team captains. Herrera scored four goals and added three assists while Pichardo didn’t play until the playoffs because of injury. Gonzalez is happy to have his two leaders in the middle of the pitch during matches. … Aquino played a little last season as a freshman but is expected to take on more of the scoring responsibilities. … The returning Hornets are motivated to help the program get over the hump and win a regional title. Harvard last won a regional in 2018 and lost to Vernon Hills, 2-1, in the Class 2A regional finals.
Coach: Adam Bronars (seventh season)
Last season’s finish: 9-11-1, 3-2 KRC (third place), Class 1A regional champions
Top returning players: Preston Michel, sr., GK; JT Schmitt, jr., D; Kyle Jesuit, sr., M; Kyle Patterson, sr., M; Armando Garcia, sr., M; Jacob Calhoun, sr., F; Payton Fiene, sr., F; Aiden Schwichow, sr., F; Trevor Morse, sr., D; Ethan Pyles, sr., D; Blake Bowers, jr., D
Key newcomer: Jayce Schmitt, so., M
Worth noting: The Skyhawks won their first regional title since 2010 last season when they defeated Marian Central, 2-0. Johnsburg will try to win a KRC title and win a second straight regional title, something the program hasn’t done in a while. “They know what it takes to succeed and they know what it was like to have that success,” Bronars said. “They want to have it again.” … Michel returns after earning All-KRC honors last season and making 254 saves in 21 matches. Bronars knows how important it is to have someone like Michel back in the net for the team’s morale. “It gives everyone just an extra boost of confidence to play positively in a game and play with freedom,” Bronars said. “It’s so big.” … Johnsburg had its first winning record in the KRC last season for the first time since 2017.
Coach: Sergio Orozco
Last season’s finish: 8-10, 1-4 KRC (sixth place)
Top returning player: Jacob McCarthy, jr., M
Key newcomers: Andres Alcantara, sr., M; Sam Tucker, fr., M
Worth noting: Orozco has enjoyed watching his young team build a strong bond. Marengo features six underclassmen and Orozco has appreciated how many of the upperclassmen have taken the youngsters under their wings. “It’s fun to watch them adapt and build that chemistry,” Orozco said. … McCarthy returns for this third season. Oroczo is excited to see if he can take the next step in his development and as a team leader. “I think it’s going to be his year to take control and show what he’s all about,” Orozco said. … Alcantara is expected to have a major role both on and off the field after transferring over from Round Lake.
Coach: Casey DeCaluwe (13th season)
Last season’s finish: 10-14, 1-4 KRC (fifth place)
Top returning players: Maddox Meyer, sr., F; Sean Rockwell, sr., M; Ethan Sell, sr., D; Aidan Albert, jr., M; Joseph Kyes, jr., M; Aiden Lindsey, sr., D; Peter Chmeilowski, jr., GK; Jack Meyer, jr., M; Nate Larson, so., M/D; Dane Gardner, so., M
Worth noting: The Rockets will be younger this season with seven freshmen on the varsity roster. DeCaluwe said the upperclassmen have taken a strong leadership role early as R-B will need everyone to be ready to play in order to achieve the team’s goals. … DeCaluwe is excited to see what his freshmen can add to the mix, especially Wells, Wold and Boentges. “It’s just trying to get their feet wet slowly,” DeCaluwe said. … The Rockets will try to win their first regional title since 2019 and finish with a winning record for the first time since 2021.
Coach: Santiago Rubio (first season)
Last season’s finish: 11-12, 2-3 KRC (fourth place)
Top returning players: Lucas Rubio, jr., M/D; Jackson Thomas, jr., D
Key newcomer: Krishna Patel, so., F
Worth noting: Santiago Rubio takes over the program and has already implemented some changes. He’s increased the intensity and individualized training and the Blue Streaks have been receptive to his changes. … Woodstock will have a large junior core with only four seniors on the varsity roster. Lucas Rubio and Thomas will be key leaders. “I think they’re going to be the anchors of our team,” Santiago Rubio said. … Santiago Rubio is excited for the scoring threat that he expects Patel to become. “He brings a lot of qualities to our attack,” Santiago Rubio said. “I’m looking forward to see how he can contribute on offense.”
Coach: John Sullivan (third season)
Last season’s finish: 6-14-4, 3-2 KRC (second place)
Top returning players: Colin Given, sr., D; Tyler Ward, sr., D; Enrique Castaneda, sr., M/F; Jakob Idle, jr., M/F; Benjamin Lagerhausen, sr., F; Luis Butler, jr., M; Christopher Perez, sr.; Nibret Freundl, sr., F; Brody Case, jr., D/F; Samuel Foster, jr., M; Guillermo Ramirez, sr., M; Luis Garcia, sr., F; Cole Morrison, so., D/F; Dylan Flores, sr., GK
Key newcomers: Benjamin Stroh, jr., D; Giovanni Navarrete, sr., D; Garrett Batdorff, jr., GK/F; Oscar Rodriguez, sr., F; Josh Pabst, jr., M
Worth noting: The Thunder lost two starters from last season’s team, which Sullivan thought hit its stride toward the end of the season. Woodstock North lost 1-0 in the Class 2A regional semifinals to Vernon Hills, who went on to play in the sectional championship. “They saw how we ended the season, they saw what their potential is and how they’re going to be able to step up,” Sullivan said. … Sullivan is impressed with the senior group he has this season and the dedication they’ve shown to building a strong team chemistry. … Freundl returns after scoring 12 goals last season and earning All-KRC honors. … The Thunder have a clear goal of winning a KRC title this year, something the program has never done.
Chicagoland Christian Conference
Coach: Art Dixon (seventh season)
Last season’s finish: 13-4-1
Top returning players: Sam Hoover, sr., GK; Andrew Dovidio, sr., F; Nick Giesinger, sr., D; Henry Bonnet, so., M; Luke Aragona, so., F/M; Finn Piefer, so., D; Michael Raimando, jr., F
Key newcomers: Stefan Stojich, fr., M/F; CJ Fragante, jr., D/M; Jacob Schug, fr., D/F; Roman Costello, jr., M; Derek Leitzen, jr., D/F; Jan Bajada, fr., F
Worth noting:Marian will have a new core this season after graduating 10 seniors. “They’re a great group of kids coming in,” Dixon said. “We have a lot of great talent on this team, we just need to put it in the right places.” … Hoover will move over to goalkeeper after playing as a forward last year. … Aragona comes back after scoring seven goals last season. … Each of the Hurricanes’ newcomers bring something different, which has Dixon excited to see what different matchups he can create throughout the year. … The Hurricanes move to the Chicagoland Christian Conference this year after being independent last season. Marian previously played in the East Suburban Catholic Conference.